Unsure What Career Path To Take

J9R4W

Clanker
Hi @J9R4W ,

I must warn you that you are up against a tight time-line, because the upper age limit for entry to Sandhurst is below 30 years on the first day of the Commissioning Course.

It would certainly not be impossible to achieve that, but it would require a considerable degree of focus on the application and no delays in the process – whether those be documentary, medical, or either of the two separate stages of selection through the Army Officer Selection Board at Westbury.

Quite apart from the Sandhurst upper age limit, the Infantry, also look increasingly carefully before accepting officer cadets from Sandhurst who are within a year or two of age 30 – because of the physical and leadership demands of the work of a junior commissioned officer. Some of the other Arms & Corps can sometimes afford to be less discriminatory.

Although it is very sensible to research various roles at this stage please note that Officer Cadets in Junior Term have the opportunity to learn more about the different Corps and Arms that make up the British Army, allowing them to make an informed decision when they come to decide which one they wish to commission into at the end of their time at RMAS. This, of course, is subject to Regimental Selection Boards in Term two.

You may find it useful to attend the RMAS insight day (online) on 12 April 22. You will have the opportunity to hear from serving Army officers, Officer Cadets and Army careers staff, all of whom will be on hand to answer your questions during and after the presentation. The presentation will deliver an indepth look at life at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and will give you a chance to voice any questions you may have.

More here ; Army Officer Insight Events
That's excellent thanks for the info. It would be very helpful to see that presentation, I've signed up for it online. Cheers.
 

bestri10

War Hero
Hi all,

As the title says, I'm torn between applying for two different roles in the army and would appreciate any advice or info to help make a decision.

Some background about myself: I'm currently 27 and for the past 3-4 years it's been my sole aim to join the Royal Marines. I first applied to join in 2018 at 23 after finishing my degree, to join as an OR. Unfortunately I was made PMU and had to wait 3 years to re-apply due to an inhaler on my record. So I waited and did other things until re-applying in 2021 and was again made PMU due to 2 courses of oral steroids I took at age 8 and 12. I have appealed that decision and am waiting for a response.

In the meantime, a friend in the army advised applying to the army as they have slightly different medical screening and are not as strict as the RN/RM. This I found to be true as I initially passed the army triage medical, even after telling the nurse all the details which made me PMU with the navy.

The roles that I'm considering are either applying as an as an infantry officer (something not on my radar when I first applied to the RM) or to join the Royal Artillery (as an OR) and apply to become a special observer with 4/73 battery.

The Paras seem like an obvious alternative to the Royal Marines, but my gut just tells me the Paras aren't for me and the para role just doesn't appeal to me as much as the special observer role does. I like the idea of working in small, independent teams behind enemy lines - more similar in some sense to the commando role though obviously without the 'offensive actions' of conducting raids etc.

On the other hand, being an infantry officer also sounds appealing to and would probably lead to a better life after leaving the army - probably better career prospects? I still don't think I know enough about what life as an officer would be like so if anyone could recommend any books etc., on it that would be helpful. I have recently read 'Stand Up Straight' and 'The Junior Officers Reading Club'.

Thanks for any info/advice.

BTW: I may post a copy of this in the officers section if that's allowed?
I thought the medicals were at the same standard for each of the services as its the same private company that provide the medicals for those looking to join, also, as far as the army being less strict goes is bs in my experience, from applying i was led on a 2 and a half year back and forth just to be made pmu after meeting the standards and being deemed medically fit and physically fit.
 

J9R4W

Clanker
I thought the medicals were at the same standard for each of the services as its the same private company that provide the medicals for those looking to join, also, as far as the army being less strict goes is bs in my experience, from applying i was led on a 2 and a half year back and forth just to be made pmu after meeting the standards and being deemed medically fit and physically fit.
So as explained I failed the navy medical at triage stage (which I'm appealing as they didn't have the full picture) but passed the army medical triage. Difference is that the army go on to look at the full medical records themselves whereas the navy go through crapita and the GP secretaries, so don't get the full picture and take ages.

They both adhere the the JSP-950 standards, but they screen differently. e.g., navy will ask if you ever broke an arm - if yes they'll delay you for 2 months to find out more about it. With the army they'll ask "well, is your arm broken now? No? Okay next question". So hopefully I'll have a better chance with the army medical, not guaranteed but I've made more progress with it so far than I did with the navy.
 

Oyibo

LE
Hi all,

As the title says, I'm torn between applying for two different roles in the army and would appreciate any advice or info to help make a decision.

Some background about myself: I'm currently 27 and for the past 3-4 years it's been my sole aim to join the Royal Marines. I first applied to join in 2018 at 23 after finishing my degree, to join as an OR. Unfortunately I was made PMU and had to wait 3 years to re-apply due to an inhaler on my record. So I waited and did other things until re-applying in 2021 and was again made PMU due to 2 courses of oral steroids I took at age 8 and 12. I have appealed that decision and am waiting for a response.

In the meantime, a friend in the army advised applying to the army as they have slightly different medical screening and are not as strict as the RN/RM. This I found to be true as I initially passed the army triage medical, even after telling the nurse all the details which made me PMU with the navy.

The roles that I'm considering are either applying as an as an infantry officer (something not on my radar when I first applied to the RM) or to join the Royal Artillery (as an OR) and apply to become a special observer with 4/73 battery.

The Paras seem like an obvious alternative to the Royal Marines, but my gut just tells me the Paras aren't for me and the para role just doesn't appeal to me as much as the special observer role does. I like the idea of working in small, independent teams behind enemy lines - more similar in some sense to the commando role though obviously without the 'offensive actions' of conducting raids etc.

On the other hand, being an infantry officer also sounds appealing to and would probably lead to a better life after leaving the army - probably better career prospects? I still don't think I know enough about what life as an officer would be like so if anyone could recommend any books etc., on it that would be helpful. I have recently read 'Stand Up Straight' and 'The Junior Officers Reading Club'.

Thanks for any info/advice.

BTW: I may post a copy of this in the officers section if that's allowed?

Greetings,

I'll chuck in my ha'penny's worth here which I hope may help, but bear in mind it is only my opinion.

For background, I joined the Parachute Regiment as a tom and was commissioned back into the Parachute Regiment after nearly 5 years (not a route I'd recommend, but it does happen, especially in the Parachute Regiment). I joined the Parachute Regiment because I considered it the best direct entry unit in the Army. And yes, I wanted to be a sniper/FAC/surveillance op etc. From what you've written, your aspirations seem similar to those I had many moons ago.

Specialised jobs in small teams in the Army are certainly interesting, but for how long? If you got into 4/73 Battery would you want to stay part of it after a few years, and would you turn down promotions and further qualifications to stay there?

And so to the nub of it: You could join the RA and not be selected for 4/73, or you might get into 4/73 and not enjoy it and then you are pretty much stuck with the RA. Conversely, if you want to be an officer then your options are considerably better, and also your prospects after the Army are better (I do not mean that officers are better than ORs, just that people are judged by their rank in civvy street). My advice would be to go for a commission with a preference for the Parachute Regiment, but without discounting other infantry units.
 
Australian Navy, but;

I joined young, did well in testing and rejected the recommendation i continue schooling and become an officer. I knew what I wanted to do. Never regretted it. When life caught up with me i moved to a completely unrelated job. Had fun doing that until another, really unrelated career beckoned. Loved what i got to do. Am retired at 50 a happy chappy.

Did i have crap days? Absolutely but every job will.

My point being i chose what i wanted to do because only i knew. It sucks that you haven't (yet) got into the RM but you seem to know what the next best option is. No guarantees you'll enjoy any of it but if you go into it thinking too far ahead and what you might get out of it in civvy street years later, you just might miss out completely.

Just my experience obviously. I just took opportunities as they presented themselves. Others have successful, well planned out lives. I got to go places (some were even nice), see and do things the mates i grew up with could never imagine. Some with long term plans failed miserably.

Good luck.
 

J9R4W

Clanker
Greetings,

I'll chuck in my ha'penny's worth here which I hope may help, but bear in mind it is only my opinion.

For background, I joined the Parachute Regiment as a tom and was commissioned back into the Parachute Regiment after nearly 5 years (not a route I'd recommend, but it does happen, especially in the Parachute Regiment). I joined the Parachute Regiment because I considered it the best direct entry unit in the Army. And yes, I wanted to be a sniper/FAC/surveillance op etc. From what you've written, your aspirations seem similar to those I had many moons ago.

Specialised jobs in small teams in the Army are certainly interesting, but for how long? If you got into 4/73 Battery would you want to stay part of it after a few years, and would you turn down promotions and further qualifications to stay there?

And so to the nub of it: You could join the RA and not be selected for 4/73, or you might get into 4/73 and not enjoy it and then you are pretty much stuck with the RA. Conversely, if you want to be an officer then your options are considerably better, and also your prospects after the Army are better (I do not mean that officers are better than ORs, just that people are judged by their rank in civvy street). My advice would be to go for a commission with a preference for the Parachute Regiment, but without discounting other infantry units.

Thanks for your reply, I appreciate the insight. The points you made really make it clear to me what the pros/cons might be. One question I have is wether officers can specialise to the same level as an other ranks? My assumption was that the soldiers would be on the sharper end of operations whereas the officers would be in a managerial/supervisory role. I don't know why but I've always had the desire to be at the pointiest part of 'the sharp end' as possible, and I wonder wether that would be possible as an officer.

Australian Navy, but;

I joined young, did well in testing and rejected the recommendation i continue schooling and become an officer. I knew what I wanted to do. Never regretted it. When life caught up with me i moved to a completely unrelated job. Had fun doing that until another, really unrelated career beckoned. Loved what i got to do. Am retired at 50 a happy chappy.

Did i have crap days? Absolutely but every job will.

My point being i chose what i wanted to do because only i knew. It sucks that you haven't (yet) got into the RM but you seem to know what the next best option is. No guarantees you'll enjoy any of it but if you go into it thinking too far ahead and what you might get out of it in civvy street years later, you just might miss out completely.

Just my experience obviously. I just took opportunities as they presented themselves. Others have successful, well planned out lives. I got to go places (some were even nice), see and do things the mates i grew up with could never imagine. Some with long term plans failed miserably.

Good luck.

Thanks for the insight, a few people have commented similar advice to be pro-active and follow your interests, rather than be paralysed trying to make the right decision. Something I'm in danger of doing if I'm not careful! Cheers.
 

J9R4W

Clanker
Are you aware that the Royal Artillery has two batterys with the special observer role? However they have very different roles.

A very brief overview is that 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery is a specialist Naval Gunfire Support Forward Observation unit within 29 Commando Regiment supporting 3 Commando Brigade. 148 Cdo FO Bty provides Fire Support Teams to co-ordinate Naval fires and artillery fire. All personnel within the battery are Commando trained. They are based at RM Poole in Dorset.

You’ve already mentioned 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Battery. They are a Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Patrol unit within 5th Regiment Royal Artillery. They are based in Catterick.

The Special Observers in 4/73 are trained to deploy a specialist force on the ground at range, in close proximity to the enemy. They locate and prosecute targets as required. Working as part of the ISTAR element in their Brigade. Their reservist counterparts are Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) based in Finsbury Barracks in Greater London.
Thanks for the reply; I did look into 29 but from what I can gather there still the possibility that you could be put on a gun-line in a fire support support role if not able to join 148, whereas it seems that 4/73 is specialised in deep reconnaissance patrols and OPs. One cool fact that stood out to me about 4/73 was that they conducted the longest desert patrol by British forces since WW2 and I find that quite appealing. Reminiscent in a way of the LRDG.
 
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Oyibo

LE
Thanks for your reply, I appreciate the insight. The points you made really make it clear to me what the pros/cons might be. One question I have is wether officers can specialise to the same level as an other ranks? My assumption was that the soldiers would be on the sharper end of operations whereas the officers would be in a managerial/supervisory role. I don't know why but I've always had the desire to be at the pointiest part of 'the sharp end' as possible, and I wonder wether that would be possible as an officer.

I'll put my answer in two parts:

Specialisation: As a soldier you can stay in the same role for many years and excel at it. As an officer you are expected to lead. Part of that leadership is knowing how the people and equipment you command work - you probably won't be the best HALO sniper FAC in the army, but you have to have good knowledge about the subjects. Also, as an officer you are expected to move up the food chain bringing your experience and knowledge to bear in new roles - you may spend a couple of years in a role, but you have to bring more to the table. That is not to say that ORs cannot do the same, but generally their careers are not mapped out in the same way as those of officers. As a final note, being cammed up in a sub-surface OP might sound sexy, but it's probably the most monotonous job in the military.

The sharp end: Yes and no. As a Pl Comd you can certainly be at the sharp end if deployed. As one rises through the officer ranks less so. The infantry or SF is probably best for being at the sharp end as a junior officer. That said, as an officer leading frontline troops, you will always have difficult decisions to make - while your troops are laying down fire and taking incoming you have to do the same and also make command decisions and lead your unit.
 

J9R4W

Clanker
I'll put my answer in two parts:

Specialisation: As a soldier you can stay in the same role for many years and excel at it. As an officer you are expected to lead. Part of that leadership is knowing how the people and equipment you command work - you probably won't be the best HALO sniper FAC in the army, but you have to have good knowledge about the subjects. Also, as an officer you are expected to move up the food chain bringing your experience and knowledge to bear in new roles - you may spend a couple of years in a role, but you have to bring more to the table. That is not to say that ORs cannot do the same, but generally their careers are not mapped out in the same way as those of officers. As a final note, being cammed up in a sub-surface OP might sound sexy, but it's probably the most monotonous job in the military.

The sharp end: Yes and no. As a Pl Comd you can certainly be at the sharp end if deployed. As one rises through the officer ranks less so. The infantry or SF is probably best for being at the sharp end as a junior officer. That said, as an officer leading frontline troops, you will always have difficult decisions to make - while your troops are laying down fire and taking incoming you have to do the same and also make command decisions and lead your unit.
Thanks for the information, it's great to be able to ask q's to people with so much experience. I don't have any follow up Qs for you but I'll read and digest all the info in this thread. Will likely have further qs in the future. Cheers.
 

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